From a modest beginning in a small office at Essentials Office Supplies and a staff of one to a comfortable and customised office space in the DLG Building and a staff of five, Alliance Insurance has become well known as a trusted and reasonable insurance provider in Anguilla. Sandra Lovell, the face of and current Director of Alliance has been with the company almost from its inception. Truly, when you see the smiling and friendly face of Sandra, you think insurance. It was a pleasure to sit with Sandra to discuss her journey and the growth and evolution of Alliance Insurance Services Limited.
The Journey to Alliance Insurance
Many people may not know that Sandra is originally from Bermuda. Her family who she is very close to, still resides there. Sandra was raised in New Jersey and held different jobs in the state including a short stint at Metropolitan Life insurance company.
At Metropolitan Life, Sandra was required to be licensed. She took and passed a four-hour exam on life and health which was extraordinary as many people do not pass both at the same time. She was then assigned a territory which was primarily Armenian and Italian. Sandra has always been told that on the phone she doesn’t sound like a ‘black’ woman so making appointments in her territory was effortless but once she showed up in person, she was rebuffed with excuses such as being too busy or not interested. She left the insurance field after these experiences.
Moving to Anguilla
Sandra moved to Anguilla in 1994. Prior to her return to insurance, her careers in Anguilla ranged from Director of the Soroptimist Day Care to Purchasing Agent for Hideaway. She transitioned from the latter position to Alliance Insurance Services Ltd.
It was one of Alliance’s early partners, Heather Wallace who reached out to Sandra as the ideal candidate to manage the Insurance start-up in 2008. Sandra met with owner John Williams and Heather Wallace for an interview and was offered the job. Over the years, Sandra has held the titles Insurance Broker, Office Manager and Director at Alliance Insurance Services Limited.
Sandra was well supported while she was learning the ins and outs of the insurance industry. She shared, ‘When I got back to Insurance, it was all really new again. I got a lot of support and help. My boss would visit Anguilla once a month to provide tutorials. I attended numerous trainings across the region and in the United States. At the end of the day though, I was determined. I said I am going to do this, and I did.’
Alliance’s office space moved from Essentials to the Old Jehovah’s Witness Church in George Hill (a blessed space as Sandra stated) until 2019 before relocating to its current location on the first floor in the DLG Building
A Pivotal Moment during the Journey of Alliance Insurance
Alliance Insurance Services Limited is a proud member of the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACOCI). Sandra is currently a Director on ACOCI’s Board and has held other positions including President, Vice President and Secretary.
It was at a Dominate 360 Mastermind session in Anguilla hosted by ACOCI where Sandra spoke to guest speaker, Dr. Will Moreland. In response to him asking about her job, she replied to him insurance. He next said the words which stuck with Sandra and helped to guide the following years.
Dr. Moreland said, ‘Your goal is to be the face of Alliance Insurance. When people see you, they should think Insurance.’
That was the goal for Sandra, and it has been achieved.
Sandra shared a humorous story where she was taking her garbage out and someone pulled up in a car next to her and asked when their insurance is due.
She is open and friendly when she is stopped in the supermarket and asked about coverage. She encourages persons to visit the Office to determine how Alliance Insurance can meet their needs.
Building the Team/Staff at Alliance Insurance
Sandra has always been fortunate to have great persons cross her path and eventually become members of the Alliance staff.
A random encounter and conversation at the Post Office led to the hiring of Doreen Bryan. Doreen and Sandra were a team of two for many years. Doreen is currently the office manager at Alliance and second in command.
Sandra shared, ‘In the beginning it was just the two of us. We were competing against the other major insurance companies, but it has paid off. Things seem to have fallen in place when they were meant to. We moved from George Hill in August 2019. We grew exponentially January 1, 2020, that is, we took on a large account and needed another person.’
In December 2019, Sandra hired Jervis Richardson as an Insurance Broker. She spoke warmly of Jervis sharing that he had many years of insurance experience plus has a great personality.
Kishawn Richardson is the clerical assistant and is responsible for filing and messenger services. He is also cross trained in motor vehicle insurance. Sandra strongly believes in cross training and is intentional about ensuring that more than one person in the office can do each job.
Gweneth Webster is the Compliance Officer/Admin Assistant and is the most recent hire at Alliance. It was also good fortune that led to her becoming part of the Alliance team.
Sandra shared, “I have been fortunate that when I needed people, it all fell into place. I’m proud that all our staff are Anguillian or Belongers.
It is not surprising that Sandra who is very supportive of her staff, talked in glowing terms of their skills and relationship.
She continued, ‘Most of my staff are mature. We have fun but the work gets done. I am blessed to have a staff that helps each other. Gwen is great at Excel. Doreen will help Jervis with certain things with various clients. Jervis is very good at marketing. We work well together. Our staff goes above and beyond. I am usually the last one here but some days I leave behind one or two staff members. I work with them, and they work with me. I learn from them, and they learn from me.’
Due to the pandemic, overseas travel is on hold for staff, but she supports online training and will pay for it as she wants staff to keep improving their skills not just for Alliance but also for themselves.
Insurance Services at Alliance Insurance Services Limited
Alliance Insurance Services Ltd offers a range of services. These include Property Insurance, Health Insurance and Motor Vehicle Insurance. Life Insurance will be offered again in 2022.
Sandra’s advice on property insurance:
‘Even if you don’t insure your building (unless required by the bank), insure your contents. Our structures are concrete and strong, but water always seems to find a way in.’
She shared that after Hurricane Irma, Alliance Insurance were able to write checks quickly and give people a starter. Checks were written by her and accessed via one of our local banks at the time.
Sandra’s advice on Health Insurance
Sandra encourages young people to get health insurance. They can start with a basic plan and trade up later. Her concern is the increase of young people presenting with health issues because of obesity and diabetes.
She is proud that for health insurance while the stated turnaround time for disbursements is 30 days, Alliance can and continues to provide checks, which are written by Sandra right here in Anguilla, within three (3) business days.
She was reflective as she noted that sometimes the needs of customers are outside of the parameters of what Alliance offers. She shared that the last few months have been hard as she learned some detailed concepts of what some people are going through. She shared that it is part of what they do consoling the family in hard times or when a person passes.
Best Business Advice
Sandra’s best business advice is to remain open to new ideas and to try and learn as much as you can.
Alliance Insurance Gives Back to the Community
Alliance finds ways to give back to the Community. The company partners with the National Disaster Management Committee to sponsor the Annual Risk Reduction Recognition Award. It also has given back through the Anguilla Community Action Network (ACAN), Anguilla Cancer Society and donates annually to the Christmas Tree Lighting in The Valley.
Sandra’s thoughts on the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACOCI)
She believes that the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce is important for the business community. Sandra encourages businesses to become members stating that ‘We have more impact as one voice.’ She believes together the business community and ACOCI can push for things such as duty-free concessions for certain medications offered by private pharmacies as not everything can be accessed at the local hospital. Sandra emphasised that healthcare is important to everyone and should be affordable for everyone.
Alliance Insurance – Looking Ten Years into the Future
Sandra smiled contentedly as she responded,
“Right now, I’m surprised about where we are. I have been in this business since 2008, hired people and we have grown. I would like to see us moving out of this location because it is too small. Looking forward, I would like to be able to have people go out in field to do cold calls and more people using website. In the future, I would like to have a Spanish speaking person on staff so we can reach out to the Spanish community to offer health information and other services. I would like to see our staff growing, our business growing and when people think Insurance, I want them to think Alliance.”
Contact Alliance Insurance Ltd
Location Rock Farm, Anguilla
Tel: 264 498 7788
Cell: 264 235 2475
Email: [email protected]
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